Give schools access to more COVID tests, says Richmond Council

Release Date: 22 September 2020

As concerns around access to COVID testing continue to grow, Richmond Council calls on the Government to sort it out before the situation impacts local schools.

The difficulties in accessing tests and the long delays in receiving results is causing some teachers and pupils to be off for a week or more once they displayed symptoms – even if they eventually test negative.

Whilst no schools have had to close because of any positive COVID-19 tests, there are growing numbers of children and young people who are also at home isolating, whilst waiting to be able to have a test.

Cllr Penny Frost, Chair of the Education and Children’s Services Committee for Richmond Council, said:

“The testing regime at the moment is a shambles. It’s very difficult to get tests and it takes too long to get the results – as long as five days or more.  

“Our schools are desperate not to close because suspected cases of COVID cause teachers and pupils to isolate, but unless things change it’s going to be inevitable we’ll see school closures across the borough. The only way for schools to stay safe and stay open through the autumn and winter is for schools to have a wider stock of tests ready and to get the results rapidly.

“The education of our children and young people has suffered so much already. The Government must step up and make sure that no young person or teacher has to stay out of school for one day more than necessary.”

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P376/20

Updated: 30 September 2020